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Excerpts from Elliott Abrams: OBAMA COULD CARE LESS ABOUT ASSAD’S ATROCITIES IN SYRIA

 Without American leadership, the Arabs and Turks would be unable to put together a coherent program and might back groups we viewed as extreme and dangerous, and tied to al Qaeda. With American leadership, especially early on, we could have organized a coherent international effort to back nonjihadist Sunni rebels, make them stronger than their rivals, and enable them to fight against the regime and against al Qaeda-linked jihadists. Indeed the vacuum that sucked in jihadists from all over the world would never have been created. Nor is this 20-20 hindsight; there were plenty of people inside and outside the administration urging the more active policy for the United States.

 

But no argument could persuade the president. Advice and warnings from his subordinates fell on deaf ears, as the jihadist groups grew in power...Instead, Obama fumbled and grasped the helping hand of Vladimir Putin, who concocted a chemical weapons deal between Obama and Assad…

 

The chemical weapons deal gave Assad license to continue killing by any means other than chemical weapons, and he is using it. …The American strike that President Obama decided against at the last minute could have destroyed some of Assad’s helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, damaged their bases, degraded their ability to conduct such attacks, and given Assad a firm and credible warning to stop using airpower against civilian targets.

 

The Obama administration has a variety of excuses for its inaction. What can we do, after all? Would a jihadist victory be better than Assad? Small but growing elements of the foreign policy establishment are now echoing the line that we can’t after all allow al Qaeda to take over, so perhaps Assad is a necessary evil… If today’s choices are worse than yesterday’s, or those available in 2012 and most of 2013, that is because Obama decided to do nothing. ..

 

But the reputation that will in the end suffer most is Obama’s. He is presiding over a humanitarian disaster where war crimes and atrocities occur each day and he responds with speeches…. He is endangering our safety by allowing jihadists to turn Syria into their world center of activity. And over the next three years, he is likely to reap what he has sowed. The problem is, so will we.

Balatarin

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FG3049

FG3049

Freed Prisoners Speak About Islamic State of Iraq’s Torture & Executions

http://eaworldview.com/2014/01/syria-1st-hand-freed-prisoners-speak-islamic-state-iraqs-torture-executions/


INSURGENT OFFENSIVE IN HOMS PROVINCE?

Overshadowed by offensives elsewhere and then by fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq, insurgents appear to be on the move in Homs Province in central Syria.The Islamic Front said on Thursday that it was attacking pro-Assad militias in Al-Kamb, near the city of Talbiseh, and to the east of Houla. Source: Enduring America

However, an opposition activist points to a significant setback for the insurgency:
“40 martyred 15 injured 8 made it back alive. Tragedy of rebels saving their people from clutches of regime & inside informants.”—Source: Louiza Zangh.


ALEPPO

#1: Citizen journalist in Aleppo: ISIS ‘treated us worse than Air Force intelligence’
http://linkis.com/wp.me/3Df5K


#2: Over 1500 ISIS fighters are reportedly gathering in Saraqeb east of Idlib and sw of Aleppo to stage a comeback according to activists. I’d say that would be nowhere near enough.

pic.twitter.com/vRLgqC8Pf4


#3: ISIS and the regime have launched a joint attack on the northern town of Bayanoun.
Six Country Poll: WHAT STYLE OF DRESS IN APPROPRIATE FOR WOMEN IN PUBLIC?
Photos showed six options. You’ll know these countries are making progress in civil rights when it becomes none of the government’s business to enforce personal dress.

DEIR EZZOR: An ISIS suicide bomber, following regime target tactics, killed dozens of civilians.

Article: “HAS THE SAWHA HIT THE FAN IN SYRIA?”

Michael Weiss looks at the rebel counter-attack on ISIS and its significance
https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/commentaryanalysis/529244-has-sahwa-hit-the-fan-in-syria

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Don’t Miss This Gem!

https://twitter.com/smcmediaoffice/status/420914302032162816/photo/1


REBELS HAVE COME UP WITH A SUPER POSTER SHOWING THE ASSAD’S LINKS TO ISUS/AL QUEDA

https://twitter.com/smcmediaoffice/status/420914302032162816/photo/1


Jahhat Al-Nusrah (JAN) is far superior at suicide bombing attacks and has just acquired a NEW AND MASSIVE POOL of potential volunteers who defected from ISUS and is far more likely to direct them to makes it far more feared and far more military effective. Ratios of 60-1 are not uncommon and than 200-1 in some cases. To the extent possible the dead exclusively SAA, Syrian milias or sectarian invaders from Lebanon and Iraq. HQ units and barracks are favored targets.

The other major difference between Jabhat Al-Nusra and ISIS (so far at least) is that JAN is mostly Syria and has no ties to the Assad regime. It concentrates almost 100% on attacking regime forces. ISIS concentrates on killing rebels, democracy activists, journalists (western and Syrian) and non-Sunni minorities by covert pre-arrangemen with the regime.

Assad then plays up the incidents, pretends to be fighting the terrorists he actually sponsors and avoids targeting known ISIS positions. Even now the Alawaite Air Force and occasional regime ground forces have assisted ISIS against the rebels as in the case of an air attack from Tabqa airbase that attempted to target anti-ISUS fighters in Raqaa.

THE WAR AGAINST ISIS CONTINUES (Updates)

#1. Very heavy fighting in Raqaa right now. IF rebels have taken the “Sbahih” barrier at the western entrance and forced #ISIS to retreat. Source: robotnyk

http://wikimapia.org/#lang=de&lat=35.955811&lon=38.960009&z=15&m=b


#2: Rebels have killed a number of ISIS fighters in the northwest suburb of Hretan. Up the road further are two strongly pro-regime towns (Al Zahraa and Nubbol) containing thugs wanted for atrocities.

http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=36.283720&lon=37.079029&z=12&m=b


#3: “Shami Witness” who is pro-Al Queda reports that JAN is protecting ISIS in Deir Ezzor. As James Miller notes, there are divisions in Jan and always have been hence some units fight ISIS. Other protect it and call for and end to the fighting. Most rebels, including Ahar Al-Sham, see the fight as self-defense directed at a regime agent.

#4. MILLER SAYS JAN ITSELF MAY BE BREAKING UP OVER THE ISSUE. Some JAN battalions are refusing to fight ISIS and othes are determine to do so.

#5. “Aleppo city now liberated from #ISIS. Remaining fighters were forced to retreat to north eastern outskirts.” Markito0171.

FG3049

FG3049

SOME ITEMS OF INTEREST FROM ENDURING AMERICA”S ROUNDUP TODAY

These will save me the work of duplicating EA’s efforts. As you read some of these just remember Obama and his “political advisors” in the White House continue to float trial balloons (via Ryan Crocker) suggesting an intent to ally with and support the Assad as “best for America.” Obama is no opposite from FDR or Truman who never showed and interest in a a similar deal offered by the Nazis in 1945 to “help combat Bolshevism.”

#1: Videos of Sunni children murdered by the terrorist regime’s Alawite Air Force in an attack on a school north of Aleppo.

#2. The Aleppo Media Center is reporting that around 300 prisoners detained by ISIS have been released from an ISIS headquarters in the city as a result of an agreement with Jabhat al-Nusra.

#3. Opposition Coalition Rocked by Resignations Over Re-Election of President and “Peace” Conference

Can you blame them? Labwani said Jarba had been offering assurances to the United Nations, the US, and Russia about the conference without consultation with the Coalition. Apparently the untrustworthy Obama had been offering lots of money as well as arm twisting and threats to induce rebels to do the unthinkable—attend a pre-rigged conference organized by the genocidal Vladimir Putin who has become the president’s #1 advisor on foreign affairs. That’ll be the day!!!!

#4: Rebels have liberated the Children’s Hospital in Aleppo used as an ISIS prison. Some prisoners were still alive but many were executed, including citizen journalists kidnappned by ISIS. The more dirt that turns up the more it is clear rebels could no longer tolerate ISIS and that the latter clearly functioned as a regime ally. Here’s an interesting quote:

“a Jabhat Al-Nusra militant has confirmed, after he was able to enter the building and retrieve the body of his deceased brother, that there are tens of unidentified corpses in the hospital. The majority of the detainees incarcerated by ISIL were media and civil activists, in addition to Free Syrian Army and Islamist fighters.”

#5. A video of 50 prisoners found executed with their hands tied behind their backs recalls endless similar crimes by the ISUS’ ally, the equally terroristic Assad regime.

http://eaworldview.com/2014/01/syria-daily-islamic-state-iraq-rejects-truce-insurgents/#SNC

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HOW MUCH FURTHER CAN THE REGIME SHRINK AND REMAIN MILITARILY VIABLE?

Assad now controls less than 40% of Syria. Further shrinkage is certain. See the map:

https://mapsengine.google.com/map/viewer?mid=ze1x2OUIbJgM.kynvHffQ2SWY


Regime “Syria” now consists of two permanently isolated chunks plus a number of distant and untenable “mini-islands.” Let’s examine those two chunks more closely.

CHUNK #1—far bigger and wider—extends from Latakkia in the northwest to just below Homs. Some portions are “rebel infected” and that infection is likely to spread. This “chunk” would be seriously endangered if the regime set out on a “consolidation” policy under which irretrievable areas in the north would be dumped. Here is why the regime has wisely rejected that strategy:

Consolidation would make sense if most regime equipment and manpower in the north and east could be recovered but rebel blockage makes that impossible. Manpower would be surrender and equipment handed over to the rebels. Thus it would be the rebels who would free up the most resources for use elsewhere with Latakkia especially at risk. Assad might not want to expend scarce resources on areas he has no prospect of recovering but he really has no choice.

CHUNK #2 is far smaller and more narrow and far more vulnerable to quickie shrinkage. It consists of part of Damascus and two provinces further south. Looking at the map anyone can why hanging on to northern Damascus will be difficult. If rebel progress in the southern suburbs continue Daraa and Sweida Province will be cut off aggravating an existing manpower disadvantage there. Rebels not only outnumber regime forces at many thinned out bases but they have more reliable, motivated and experience manpower. Regime defenders are often detested shabbiha or Sunni conscripts with good reason to hate the regime. As areas like this and Palmyra are cut off and fall, any airbases and aircraft tend to get neutralized.

FOUR RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN ALEPPO

#1-2: The regime continues to LOSE ground in spite of the ISIS-Rebel conflict.
In western Aleppo the Islamic Front took control of regiment 111 & Shaykh Sulayman. Source: Markito0171

http://wikimapia.org/#lang=de&lat=36.262477&lon=36.904707&z=14&m=b


Also, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) has blown up two buildings belonging to Assad regime killing dozens of Assad soldiers.

#3: Article: WHAT’S REALLY DRIVING ASSAD’S ASSAULT ON ALEPPO?

When the Syrian regime drops bombs on the country's largest city the other target is the negotiating table in Geneva.

http://www.worldcrunch.com/opinion-analysis/what-039-s-really-driving-assad-039-s-assault-on-aleppo/syria-assad-geneva-aleppo-peace-talks/c7s14647/#.Usy_PoLn-01


#4: MASS SURRENDER IN ALEPPO

Over 100 #ISIS fighters capitulated to Jabhat al-Nusra in al-Salheen Police Center - The Syrian Observatory

RAQAA

Regime convoy from brigade93-base in Ayn Isa break siege & heading towards Tall Abyad, possibly to help ISIS.
http://wikimapia.org/#lang=de&lat=36.549362&lon=38.868256&z=11&m=b&gz=0;388634490;363790027;0;0;933837;3166740


QAMISHLI (near Turkish border in ne)

The enthusiasm of these civilians at the site of FSA forces who drove out ISUS is a sure sign of how deeply ISIS/Al Queda rule was hated.

&feature=youtube_gdata_player


Johnny Six posted this video of rebels overrunning a regime battalion yesterday but the location was not clear.

&feature=youtube_gdata_player


THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL EXPLAINS WHY A REBEL VICTORY IS FAR PREFERABLE TO A REGIME VICTORY IN SYRIA

“A substantial body of research on civil war suggests rebel victories are much more likely to lead to less repressive politics than regime victories. A likely explanation is that many rebel movements draw both their legitimacy and war-fighting capabilities from their population. Once established, the political and social culture of opposition is difficult to uproot, and shapes both popular expectations and rulers’ behavior in the aftermath of war. By contrast, a victorious Syrian regime will feel vindicated in its violence, and will have little appetite for or interest in political reform….

“The principle that people have a say in how they are governed—most dramatically embodied in the bravery and conscientiousness of civilian protests against ISIS—is what ultimately lends justice to the rebel cause, however much it has been tainted by sectarianism and factionalism….”

http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/menasource/the-culture-of-rebellion-in-syria?utm_content=buffer7d87b&utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Buffer


Article: ISLAMISTS, SALAFISTS AND JIHADISTS: FRIENDS OR FOES OF THE REVOLUTION?

Things aren’t so clear cut as some would have it.

http://linkis.com/wp.me/cHGp3


FORGOTTEN LINK: I omitted one for the Elliott Abrams article. Here you are:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/haunted-syria_773269.html?page=3


The Weekly Standard is not usually my cup of tea since it leans to the right while my own leanings are Democratic Party/ center left. I’m a two-time Obama voter who is likely to boycott the 2014 election in disgust over Obama’s outrageous Syria policy an his groveling at the feet the vicious and genocidal Vladimir Putin—a democracy hater who, if opposed, who would slaughter the Russian people with no more qualms that Assad displayed in Syria.

ANOTHER UNFLATTERING PORTRAIT OF OBAMA BY AN INSIDER: Obama is insular, controlling, dominated by political aides who disregard military and diplomatic professionals.—Gates.